Sunday, March 2, 2008


Man, online BDSM communities can make online fandom communities look polite, open-minded, and well-connected with reality. Quotes from a (community-only) post in the Livejournal Male_Dom group:

for me, there are two types of punishment. there is the fun type of punishment, which involves some type of pain. i am a masochist and a pain slut, so any punishment involving pain isn't really a serious deterrent.
i know this makes some people cringe, the idea that punishment and play can be similar, can have the lines blurred. i know there is the idea that if you "play" at punishment, then how can the sub know for sure where the lines are, the boundaries?
the form of punishment that is serious, the form of punishment that would have me on my knees sobbing and begging for my dom's forgiveness. for me, the worst thing he could do is simply ignore me. he knows this. and this punishment is reserved for only the worst infractions. there is only one thing right now that i could do that would cause this punishment. i am *very* clear on what it is and i will not cross that line.

I think you're a little backwards there, lady: what makes me cringe isn't punishment being too much fun, it's the idea that you'd do it if it wasn't fun.

Discussions like this make me think two things:

1) Whoa. What Jon and I do isn't BDSM at all. We just tie each other up and hit each other and stuff. Apparently this is just frivolous outer trappings, and Real BDSM looks less like kinky sex and more like incompetent dog training.

(Some of the people doing bad-dog-trainer D/s don't even have kinky sex. That's really depressing.)

2) Whoa. Maybe BDSM is insane and unhealthy after all.

Although we switch in play quite a lot, Jon's definitely the more dominant one in our relationship, but... if he ever started ignoring me because I broke some rule he made, I wouldn't be on my knees begging and I sure as hell wouldn't feel that the whole game was fulfilling my sexual kinks somehow. The conversation would start with "look, if you're angry just fucking talk to me about it, dickhead" and would end with "I'm going now."

I just don't fundamentally believe that he's really any better than me or that he really has the right to tell me what to do (other than "yeah, bitch, and the balls too"--and even that's only when I feel like it). I have kinks but deep down I basically think of myself as a capable adult.

I guess I'm not a True Submissive (whippings and tyings and "forced" sex acts aside). I think I'm glad I'm not. And I'm a little bit disturbed that anyone is.


  1. Hrm. It might be that this particular sub and her dom are doing TPE (total power exchange... I have my issues with that term, too, but that's neither here nor there). It's not my kink (mine aren't even D/s-dependent) so I may be wrong, but I suspect a lot of TPE folks might have issues with this too, for pretty much the reason you cite, that it's an ineffective way to handle a slave. (They might take issue with your metaphor, but I don't; I think the parallel is a sound one.)

    If they're not doing TPE, your observations are even more salient - it sounds like an unhealthy way to handle relationship communication, whatever sort of relationship it is.

    Those are, of course, just my observations based on excerpts from a single (I think?) post - I can't tell if the actual relationship is that problematic, or if it's just coming across that way (f'ex, because the sub is talking about a specific aspect, and not about the relationship dynamic as a whole).

    I want to say something about your "gee, does that mean we're not BDSM?" bit, but I'm not sure what you meant by it. Was this sub suggesting that everyone should practice as she and her dom do, or are you having a "fuck, I'm a freak even among freaks" moment (which I totally get), or...?


  2. Sunflower - To be honest I never really understand TPE, but I know people in real life who do it in what seems to be a realistic way that makes them both happy. It's really only on the Internet that I see people who seem to be doing it in disturbingly unpleasant and unhealthy-looking ways.

    (Or where I see people arguing that TPE is the only BDSM and that going out of role at the end of the scene makes you somehow inauthentic.)

    It's mostly just male_dom (and its many cousins) that I'm whining about--the online BDSM community seems to be largely framed around two ideas that bug the hell out of me:

    1) That serious TPE is BDSM, and mere players have no place in the community.

    2) That TPE is always a good idea and the idea that certain TPE relationships are codependent or abusive doesn't bear consideration.

    I just think that I'm a proper pervert even if it is "only sex" to me, and that giving over control of your entire life to someone who admits they get off on beating you up may not be a brilliant idea.

  3. Sounds like you and I are pretty much on the same page on this, Holly.

    My attitude about the "not Real Kink(tm)" contingent is about the same as my attitude about "not Real X" in general: they can go fuck their hats. Easier said than done, in a way; so many of these pursuits/stances/identities are things for which community is desirable. But I figure any specific community's ability to fill my desire for community is directly proportionate to its ability to accommodate my approach.

    One of the great thing about the InterNet is that one isn't stuck with a given community.